How to Plan the Best Family-Friendly Dive Vacation

Nothing beats spending time with the ones you love most, your family. As the summer quickly approaches, are you dreaming of planning a dive vacation with the whole family? There are many factors to consider as you may have young or newly certified divers with depth restrictions or non-divers to keep entertained. Whether your entire family is scuba certified or just a couple of you, we are here to help you plan the best family-friendly dive vacation ever.

Choosing the best family-friendly dive destination:

  1. Research! Take the time to research various dive destinations that have plenty of calm, clear, and shallow dive sites. Places that have deeper reefs or strong currents may not be the best choice for families with young and non-divers. Inform here on our MyDiveGuide
  2. Shore diving? Does your chosen destination offer good shore diving? Not all dive charters visit shallow dive sites every day. Shore diving may be an excellent alternative to boat diving, as long as the conditions are calm, and the entry is not too difficult.
  3. Water temperature. Kids get colder easier than adults, and when a child gets cold, diving is no longer fun. It is best to choose a dive location with warm water temperatures so your young diver can stay underwater as long as possible.

Choosing the best family-friendly dive operation:

  1. Call around and ask the dive charters at your chosen destination what their depth restrictions are. Some dive charters only conduct shallow dives on certain days of the week, so you will want to be sure to book on those days.
  2. Also, ask the dive charter if they offer other cylinder sizes besides aluminum 80s. Most young divers do best wearing a 63 ft3 aluminum cylinder as it fits their bodies better and still provides them with plenty of airtime. You do not want your child to have to wear a tank that is bigger than she is.
  3. Does the dive center rent child-size gear? You will find that most dive centers do not carry dive gear in youth sizes, so it may be best to purchase your young diver their own equipment to bring along with you.
  4. If you have very young children that are not yet old enough to dive and you and your spouse will be taking turns diving, make sure you choose a dive operation that allows young children on board the dive boat. Some do, and some do not.

Choosing the best family-friendly accommodations:

  1. Once you decide upon your destination, choosing where to stay can be the hardest part of planning a family vacation. A fun resort is always a top choice, especially if they have a large pool, water slide, and kid-friendly activities. Some resorts even offer kids clubs and have on-site playgrounds.
  2. To go all-inclusive or not all-inclusive, that is the question. Depending on the size of your family, all-inclusive options may be very appealing, especially if you have growing teens that love to eat. Besides the cost-benefit all-inclusives may offer, kids love to be able to grab a snack or drink any time they want to.
  3. Airbnb or condo rental? Another great option is renting an entire condo. Staying at a resort can sometimes feel cramped, especially if you are trying to fit 4-5 people in a single room. Condos can offer more space and privacy, plus they usually come with fully equipped kitchens where you can cook much of your food at home.

Planning for your non-diving family members:

  1. Long before you leave on your family dive vacation, make sure that all the non-diving members of your family are strong snorkelers. This way, the parent that stays behind can take the non-diver(s) snorkeling off the boat while the rest of the family is out diving.
  2. As stated above, children get colder in the water easier, especially if they are very young, so they may not last long while snorkeling. To keep them entertained while hanging out on the boat as the rest of the family finishes their dives, make sure you bring other fun activities for them.
  3. If you have non-divers, do not plan on scuba diving every day. Plan a day on a snorkel cruise so that your non-diving family members get at least one day of family snorkel time where you can all explore the underwater world together.
Here at SSI, we love diving. We also love family. What could be better than combining the two things we love most? Taking your loved ones on a family dive vacation gives you the best of both worlds. By following these tips, we hope you can plan the best family vacation ever.   Source: Image©istock/Ridofranz